Potential Santa Ana Winds Prompt Uncertainty in San Diego and Riverside Counties

Potential Santa Ana Winds Prompt Uncertainty in San Diego and Riverside CountiesSource: Google Street View
Ben J. Costas
Published on December 05, 2023

Santa Ana winds are gearing up to blow through the mountain and foothill regions of San Diego and Riverside counties at the week's end, but the intensity is yet to be pinned down. According to the Times of San Diego, the National Weather Service reported, "There is still quite a bit of uncertainty regarding how strong this weekend’s Santa Anas will be as ensemble spread at Campo, per the EPS, is anywhere from peak gusts near 30 mph to as high as 60-70 mph at times."

With high-pressure systems skirting California, the NWS statement added, "A more moderate Santa Ana event on Saturday and Sunday across areas susceptible to easterly winds" is likely, specifically for Riverside and San Diego County territories. While sunny, warmer days and chilly nights are on tap, no official wind advisories have been pronounced as of Monday, leaving residents to ponder how the winds will play out.

The regional weather scene saw clear skies and local offshore winds up to 50 mph, especially around the Cajon Pass, as noted by the National Weather Service San Diego. These conditions are expected to taper off as the day progresses, culminating in the warmest day of the week, with "highs topping out 8-15 degrees above seasonal averages."

Looking ahead, onshore flow with cooler transformations takes the stage by midweek. However, this cool-down will be temporary as winds shift back offshore, with the NWS forecasting that for the weekend, "Gusty northeast to easterly Santa Ana winds will strengthen for Friday night into Saturday." Despite ensemble outputs from ECMWF showing less potent offshore winds for Sunday, the outlook remains warmer than average for the coast and valleys, while the deserts could see a few degrees dip compared to earlier in the week.

Marine conditions are set to be smooth sailing, with no imminent hazards forewarned through Saturday. However, surfers should note elevated surf conditions, primarily on the west-facing beaches of San Diego County, from late Wednesday into Friday. This is due to a long-period swell from the west-northwest, which could cause surf heights to range between 3 and 6 feet, with stronger sets possibly hitting 7 feet in some southern stretches.